Superheros are taking over screens big and small, and this trend shows no signs of stopping. As of this year, we will be watching Arrow, The Flash, Gotham, [Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.](series:722469) and Constantine (plus the rebooted Heroes, if you wish to deviate from comic books) and Daredevil and Luke Cage are set to begin next year.
Now it looks like another superhero will be joining the small screen ranks...or should I say superheroine?
According to Hollywood sources and Bleeding Cool, DC is actively pitching a Supergirl TV series, with producer Micheal Green (Gotham, Heroes, Smallville) attached. With Marvel planning a Jessica Jones mini-series, are the two comic book giants competing to see who will create the first female-fronted tv show?
Whether they are in competition, or just both responding to the clear desire of fans to see more women in lead roles, I'm incredibly excited to see some of our favorite female characters as the focus of new shows.
Supergirl is a great first choice for a new series - she is a character that allows DC to capitalize on the Superman branding without risking fan-fatigue at yet another incarnation of Clark Kent. Supergirl has previously appeared in an absolutely awful 80's movie (of the same name) and has had the odd appearance or easter egg in other installments of the Superman franchise, but it's about time that she had a chance to shine in her own right.
Courtesy of the cheerleader-esque outfit, the title of "girl" and again, the travesty of a movie, many casual viewers consider Supergirl to be a bit of a bubblegum character, the cheerleader of the superhero world. I would love to see more of an accurate depiction from the comic books come to the small screen, a Supergirl who is a badass in her own right.
If this happens, she may be the first Marvel/DC superheroine to grace the small screen, but she wouldn't be the first lady to kick ass and take names in her own series. Here are some of the other action-hero women who have had their own shows.
1. Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Could there be another? Buffy is, for me, the definitive female ass-kicker (and a darn good cheerleader to match!), but it's not just that. The show features a full roster of female hero-types, from the ultimate witchy sidekick Willow, to the laundry list of other slayers (it's not just Faith, people. She wasn't even the first second slayer!). There's the ex-demon, the wiccan IT teacher, various other witches (both good and bad), Buffy's mom (who counts because she manages to be the public mother of the slayer and still die from natural causes) and countless other mini-heroes throughout.
We've also got a good chunk of bad-girls for Buffy to go up against, including Druscilla, the impressively scary Glory, incan mummies, mantis-women and even vamp-Willow! This is one of the few shows where the women may actually outnumber the men, without being overtly or obviously "girl power" (which would kind of ruin it). Not only is it chock-full of super-women, but it's some fairly major bad that she goes up against. This isn't find-the-killer or fight-the-mob, she actually saved the world (a bunch).
Note: I refuse to consider Dawn in this. She is the opposite of badass, and essentially spends her time on the show being whiny and annoying, and constantly getting into trouble.
Fresh from Buffy and with the incomparable Joss Whedon at the helm again, Eliza Dushku takes on the role of Echo in this fantastically futuristic show. Even when under the control of the dollhouse, Echo embodies kick-ass, as a fighter, a criminal psychologist, a bank robber, even a dominatrix! She's got weapons skills, psych skills, physical ability, you name it. Admittedly, these are imprints given to her by the controllers, but still, I think it counts. More to the point, she also has the ability to break free from the brainwashing and control of the dollhouse, and eventually overthrow them - now that is badass.
Extra props to Sierra, who is both an absolutely incredible doll with the same imprinted skills as Echo, but who also manages to break control - in the name of love! Proving once and for all that "strong women" don't need to be ice queens.
3. La Femme Nikita
This fantastic nineties series (based on the movie of the same name, as well as the movie remake "The Point of No Return" aka "The Assassin") follows a young woman as she is trained as an assassin rather than face death by lethal injection. It involves all the usual butt-kicking goodness, fighting, shooting, running, etc, but the show has something special as well. Where the films portray the central character as an actual drug addict and criminal, the tv series shows her as a homeless girl who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Because of this, she is actually more of a badass (in my opinion) than she would have been otherwise. Whereas the first two are trained to live a life they were already morally ok with, the tv Nikita has to adapt in order to save herself. She also manages to find ways to get out of some of her assigned kills, before finally shouldering the burden of being a murderer in order to save herself.
Where would this list be without Xena, warrior princess? Originally introduced in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena got her own spin off show where she battles her way across the landscape of history. Xena is now the epitome of warrior woman, and her costuming has become a go-to for designers. She is an icon for strong women, and her story takes her from evil to good, and from pure warrior to a softer character who learns the value of friendship and love.
Even the strongest woman needs someone to lean on, and this is where the second female lead of the show comes into play. Gabrielle is Xena's support and constant companion, and the two balance each other out. As Gabrielle becomes a more hardened warrior, her influence causes Xena's softening.
5. Wonder Woman
Well, obviously. The first lady of superheroines on TV, it's an oldie but a goodie. This iconic show from the seventies was one of the first (if not the first) series to feature a truly badass woman as the main character. She's also the only traditional superheroine on the list, which should give her extra brownie points.
To many, Lynda Carter is the definitive Wonder Woman, and with the character coming back to the big screen, this classic show is being re-watched all over the world. If you haven't yet seen this sassy, take-no-prisoners Wonder Woman, stop reading, and go watch it. Now.
Alias: Before she was Elektra, Jennifer Garner was a TV super spy. Juggling her "real life" with her work for the CIA as a double agent, the show features Jennifer fighting her way in and out of all kinds of adventures, although it wasn't as hugely successful as most of the others on the list.
X-Files: Dana Scully may not be the true star, but as a co-star, she is still pretty badass. She's the smart kind of "strong woman", and while she wouldn't be useless in a fight, her strength lies in her intelligence, rather than how hard she can hit.
Charlie's Angels: Another iconic female-fronted TV show, this ones gives us a trio of ass-kicking ladies ready to save the day. They had to lose some points for being quite so happily at the beck and call of Charlie, but for a long time, they were the ultimate in crime-fighting-in-heels.
Ringer: Ultimately unpopular on TV, I still have a soft spot for Sarah Michelle Gellar as conniving twins in a complicated (and unexplained, thanks to cancellation) plot about life-swapping and revenge. Extra badass points for coping with alcoholism and a teenage daughter.
The list even goes on - if you start to look at supporting characters and women within teams as well as the ones that take the lead. Sci-fi shows are known for their portrayal of women who know how to hold their own in a fight, or as a leader (or a Captain, thank you Janeway!).
TV is chock full of badass ladies, and Supergirl would be a welcome addition to the ranks. It's perfect time for a new superhero show with a female lead, and something to fill the void that Buffy left in my small-screen life. Bring it on!
UPDATE: It has been confirmed that the project is going ahead, but that it will not be joining Arrow and Flash on CW. Although DC first pitched the show to the CW, it was turned down, probably because they are waiting to ensure the Flash is a hit before adding another hero.
It has also been revealed that whoever picks up the show, it will not be called "SuperGirl". Apparently both "Super" and "Girl" are being considered (yawn), but I'm voting for maybe "Kara"...what do you think?